Hamara Paisa

Debit Card Basics

Debit Card Basics

04 January 2018

In this article we are going to look at the benefits of a debit card, debit card do's & don’ts and instructions on how to use your debit card.

What is a debit card?

A debit card is a card that is linked to your current/checking account or in some instances your savings account. You can use it anywhere where the store has the card reader machine (PoS- Point of Sales terminals)

You can also use it at an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) to remove cash from your bank account and make purchases or payments over the phone or internet.

Whenever you use your debit card the money will be taken directly out of your bank account. Debit cards are associated with one of the major credit card companies and will usually have a Visa or MasterCard logo on them.

You will receive a PIN to allow you to use the card at the store or ATMs.

A PIN is a code which is usually a combination of numbers that you will need to enter in the ATM machine or in any store portal while paying for goods or services. It is your unique password for that debit card.

Benefits of Debit Cards

Safety - Using a Debit card is a safe and secure alternative to carrying cash as it reduces the risk of fraud, theft and misuse. If you lose your debit card you can cancel it from your bank instantly, thereby protecting the money in your bank account. 

Convenience - Debit cards are easy to carry and can save you time going to the bank to withdraw money, especially if you need to make a large payment. 

Instant Cash - With a huge number of ATM machines available in Pakistan, debit card offers both the ease of instant cash and allows you to pay for goods in various stores as long as a PoS terminal is available. 

Online use – Debit cards can be used to purchase items online from anywhere in the world.

Overview of Amounts spent - Debit cards also help in keeping a track of money spent.  Monthly statements, which are posted or seen online, SMS alerts detailing the transactions made through debit card helps in maintaining a record of your expenditures. 

Recorded Transactions - Using debit cards ensures you spend responsibly because the permissible limit of spending depends upon the money in your account.  Recorded transaction makes the task of maintaining budget and money management much easier. 

No debt - Debit cards are safer because you do not have the danger of falling into debt as you will only use the money you have. 

No credit rating risk -  Because you are not borrowing or repaying any money to the bank there is no danger of your credit rating being affected. This also implies that your credit history will have no effect on your application for a debit card.

Dos and Don’ts of Debit Card


Immediately report loss of your cardIn case you lose your debit card you must immediately report it to the financial institution/bank so that your card can be blocked and potential fraud could be prevented.

 Keep a track of your transactionsIf any fraudulent transactions are taking place on your account, it can be easily discovered by regularly checking your statements online.

 Follow SMS alerts – Set up SMS alerts from your bank listing details of each of the transaction made on any of the purchase. This will help you track your debit card spending.    

 Keep tracking your money –You must check your account statements at regular intervals in order to track your spending. Apart from this if you find any unauthorised or irrelevant transactions report it to the financial institution immediately and prevent yourself from becoming a victim of any fraudulent transaction.



Don’t disclose your PIN - Your Debit Card PIN (Personal Identification Number) is confidential and you must keep to yourselves.  Your PIN gives you access to the money in your bank account. NEVER under any circumstance share your pin over phone, email or to anyone.  Learn it by heart and keep it to yourself.

Annual Maintenance Fee- Some bank accounts have a yearly fee charged for the usage of your debit card. It can range from PKR 100 to PKR 500 and varies according to the policies of different banks.

Card replacement Fee - Fee may be charged for replacing your debit card with a new one. 

Duplicate PIN or regeneration of PIN Fee - In case you forget your PIN a duplicate can be sent to your address by charging a nominal fee.

Domestic Transaction Charges- Various banks have different policies for charging based on number of transactions. Transactions made on the same bank's ATM are usually free, however a certain limit per month is defined for free transactions from other bank's ATM.

A charge of PKR 15 per transaction is levied in such cases.

International Transaction Charges- You are charged a fee for using your debit card overseas. This could be a percentage based or a flat transaction fee.

Overdrawn charges – Some current accounts offer an overdraft. This is when your balance in your bank account is less than zero.  Therefore, you owe the bank money. Depending on the terms and conditions of your bank account, interest and fees are usually charged on the overdrawn amount. 

How to use your Debit Card:

At the ATM

  1. Insert your Debit Card into the ATM.
  2. Follow the instructions displayed on the screen
  3. Choose your preferred language
  4. Choose the type of your account (Current, Savings)
  5. Select the kind of service you wish to proceed with such as withdrawal, mini statement or balance enquiry.
  6. Enter your 4 digit PIN (Personal Identification Number)
  7. In case of cash withdrawal, enter the amount you wish to withdraw and then proceed.
  8. Complete the entire procedure and after you are done with the transaction make sure to collect your cash and card.

At POS (Point-of-sale) in Restaurants or shops

  1. Offer your card to be swiped or inserted into the card reader machine.
  2. The shop assistant will enter the transaction details which includes the payable amount.
  3. Check the amount entered within the machine and enter your 4 digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) to authenticate the transaction.
  4. After this press enter and wait for the payment slip to be generated. Sign the receipt if required (this is only required if the card is a swipe card) and keep a copy of it with yourself.
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